Feedback is a critical component of the overall design process, so it warrants more than just some nice-to-follow guidelines and best practices. A polite reminder to observe the proper critique etiquette doesn’t cut it. To make the most of feedback sessions, managers and team leads need to set ground rules for design critiques.
Stakeholder-feedback sessions deserve the same rigor, consistency, and diligence as any other step in the design lifecycle. Conducting even a single design evaluation properly—with the right intentions—has the potential to propel designs from good to great. Unfortunately, design critiques often suffer from ambiguous expectations, unclear agendas, a lack of focus—or an undue fixation on peripheral issues—unbridled biases, impertinent opinions, or a cacophony of unmoderated voices. Read More
If you’ve worked in enterprise environments with a scarcity of UX resources, you already know how difficult it is to institute design processes whose goal is to improve your craft and the quality of your design deliverables. At companies that allocate insufficient funds and support to User Experience, there is often limited opportunity for activities beyond approved, budgeted project work. Moreover, building additional commitments into your schedule can be exhausting when there are already several, disparate product teams awaiting your and your teammates’ design deliverables. Activities that focus on collaboration with UX teammates and craft are usually the first to fall by the wayside.
However, making the time for UX teammates to come together and focus on our craft and the quality of our deliverables benefits not only us, but the entire company—especially the product teams with whom we work. Doing so helps prevent inconsistent designs, the use of different user interface components and patterns to accomplish essentially the same things, and, above all, the creation of poor user experiences. Furthermore, if we fail to prioritize collaborative activities that would improve the design work and deliverables of the entire UX team, we risk creating a vacuum that product teams would happily fill with their own design solutions—perhaps relying on false assumptions rather than user-centered design and often resulting in subpar user experiences. Read More
In Part 1 of this two-part series, I described the importance of prioritizing design critique. As UX designers, we often receive little support for cultivating our craft and the quality of our design deliverables, especially in enterprise environments where User Experience is often underfunded and poorly understood. If we, as UX designers, do not prioritize design critique, nobody else will.
I also explained the importance of having a shared understanding of what design critique means because people often confuse it with doing design reviews. I presented some ground rules for design-critique activities—similar to those my teammates and I at Rockwell Automation have instituted. Providing such guidance can help lower any barriers that would hinder your ability to conduct these activities. Further, I described a process you can follow when conducting design critique, because it is often best to assign tangible actions to rules and heuristics so people see how to carry out related activities. Finally, I presented some ideas for building accountability into the design-critique process, acknowledging that even the best rules and procedures won’t work unless people are committed to executing them. Read More